Monday, May 15, 2017

Motorcycling Beefs

Ok. Here are my beefs for today, and they relate to motorcycles.

First – since I am embroiled in the lifestyle, I am acutely aware of people’s concern and complaints about motorcycles, and motorcyclists. Friends, please realize that bikers account for ONE PERCENT of all licensed drivers (riders) in California. I can’t speak about other states because I simply do not possess the data. In 2015, there were 25.5 MILLION drivers; and only 250 thousand bikers. There are 800,000 bikes REGISTERED, but very few of us only own one bike. Jay Leno has like 400! Even if EVERY BIKER ON THE ROAD was a scofflaw, we are WAY underrepresented in the population at large. Here is an article that talks about who is riding in California: http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-california-motorcyclist-profile-20140825-story.html

Second - people are talking to (and around) me about the safety of motorcycles. In my 30+ years of biking, I have gotten to know, literally, THOUSANDS of motorcycle enthusiasts, from dirt bikers, to long distance Iron Butt-ters. Of ALL the biking people with whom I have come in contact, I know of NO ONE who has been fatally injured in a m/c crash. ZERO, NADA, the EMPTY set. Compare that to my experience with airplanes. I have had THREE close friends killed in airplane crashes. In MY admittedly limited experience, airplanes are WAY more dangerous.

Third – Lane Sharing. To the uninitiated, it is called “lane splitting.” A single track vehicle, by definition, cannot physically SPLIT a lane, we are SHARING the lane. Some time back, a man Named Harry Hurt investigated over 900 motorcycle accidents, and 3600 police accident reports involving motorcycles. His research PROVED that it is SAFEER for motorcyclists to share lanes in high traffic (stop & go) situations, than to stay in between cars, like a sitting duck. Further, it is SAFER FOR US to go 10-15 mph FASTER than the flow of traffic. There are guidelines (unofficial, unpublished) that are suggested by the California Highway Patrol to make these practices safer. As bikers, we are naturally drawn to motor officers. I have NEVER met a policeman who was not willing to take some time to talk about m/cs and motorcycling. You can get a copy of the Hurt report (almost 900 pages which I have read cover-to-cover) from the Department of Transportation. It comes in 2 documents, numbered HS-805 862 & HS-805 863.


Fourth – SLOW DRIVERS, MOVE RIGHT!!